Terrence Wells scored three first-half touchdowns to lead the visiting Desert Scorpions to a 35-18 victory over the Mammoth Huskies in the season opener for both teams Friday night in Mammoth Lakes.
The first half saw some fine play by both teams, but the second half was marred by a slew of penalties. Desert had four touchdowns negated by penalty in the game; the Huskies had one on a perfect night for football at Gault-McClure Stadium at the Mammoth schools complex.
In a matchup of undefeated league champions from 2007, Desert proved more ready to go in the early season. The Scorpions (9-2 last year, 5-0 in High Desert League play) returned seven starters on both offense and defense, Mammoth (7-5, 4-0 in Desert Mountain League play), just three.
Desert, from Edwards Air Force Base and ranked No. 7 in the East Valley Division preseason poll, dominated the first quarter, taking a 13-0 lead on two touchdowns by Wells, including a nifty 17-yard jaunt.
Mammoth, No. 3 in the Northeast Division poll, responded in the second quarter with two touchdowns. Senior fullback Casey Baviera bulled in from two of yards out for the first score, capping a drive highlighted by nice runs by Jose Cortez for Mammoth.
Late, the Huskies, after failing to score with goal-to-goal, then capitalized on a Desert turnover deep in Scorpion territory late in the first half, with Cortes scoring from a couple of yards out. The PAT was missed, and Desert led 13-12.
However, Wells returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards untouched for a touchdown and the Scorpions led 19-12 at halftime.
A ragged second half with turnovers and penalties was nonetheless dominated by Desert, and the Scopions won going away.
Mammoth will make the long road trip to Orange County next week for a non-league game with two-time undefeated section champion St. Margaret’s.